On a rare sunny day, the ECCTG eventers put on a fantastic performance to secure several qualifying spots at the area horse trials, held at Llanymynech on June 25th.
We had just one individual competing in the 80 class this year – Sally Filby riding Rhodantie – who very narrowly missed out on a place at Swalcliffe. She added no jumping penalties to a fantastic dressage of 22.8 and just a smattering of time penalties to finish 2nd in her arena.
The 90 was contested by six riders – a team of Sarah Spearing on Timberwolf, Andrea Ash on Gran Jester, Ashley Daniel on Robjan Ruby Mai and Abigail Unwin on Brasingamen Eric, and a further two individuals of Sophie Jones on Eden and Lucy Watson on Sixtysomething. All six put in strong perfomances in the dressage and only Ashley and Andrea added 4 penalties to this in the show jumping. Sophie and Sarah both picked up penalties on the cross country but there were still many rosettes handed out to ECCTG riders at prize giving. The team won by a convincing 8 point lead, with Andrea and Ashley both taking 2nd individually and Abi and Lucy taking 6th.
The 100 “team” sadly turned into just two individuals due to lameness and a change of class, so our hopes in this section rested with Lucy Watson on Tanpits Unicum and Ashley Daniel on Abba. Ashley finished on her dressage of 31 to take 4th place – not quite good enough for a qualification unfortunately and Lucy added just 4 penalties to a 34 dressage to finish just out of the ribbons in 9th. Given Uni’s behaviour at last year’s qualifier (nobody mention ditches!) I’m sure Lucy was just pleased to have got him round the cross country clear!
Finally, the open team of Abi Unwin on Lunar Vision, Alison Unwin on Rongai, Sophie Jones on Diamond Rick and Abi Clare on Simply Majestic, plus individual rider Ellis Morton on Elsinore ELS took on the 100+ course – 1.10m show jumping and a 1m cross country. Yet more excellent dressage scores put us in a strong position, just 2 penalties behind the leader but with a clear sheet from Abi Unwin in the show jumping and just 4 penalties each for the others, we were in the lead going into the final phase. Unfortunately, Abi Clare’s horse decided not to play ball and with all but Abi Unwin picking up time faults (not hard to do with BRC’s rules!), we slipped into 2nd by less than a penalty. A frustrating and narrow defeat, made harder by the initial elation following announcement of provisional scores that put ECCTG in 1st. There was however consolation in individual placings; Abi Unwin took 1st place to give herself a third consecutive qualification for the championships, Ellis took 4th, Alison 6th and Sophie 8th.
Well done to all the riders, good luck to those heading off to Swalcliffe (5-7th August) and a massive thank you to all the volunteers who helped run the event on the day, especially those who bravely set their alarms super early to take the morning shift!